Imagine a practice with only daytime appointments, many referrals, large premiums, multiple products sold to a single decision-maker, and three or four new clients with each case. Welcome to the small business market.
Small business owners are passionate about their business and their families. And in most instances, they don’t automatically have the insurance options provided by a large employer. Filling this gap with “demand products”–health insurance, group disability insurance, retirement options and other solutions–offers tremendous opportunities to the life insurance agent.
Business owners know they should purchase these products, but they need good reasons to buy them from a particular agent. Once you’ve established trust with demand products, you can begin to introduce other products to the business owner, like life insurance.
People don’t hesitate to tell others about a great restaurant or movie they’ve seen but are often reluctant to shout publicly the praises of their life insurance agent. Yet with demand products, the psychology changes. People will often say, “I have a great retirement guy or a great benefits person. You should talk to him.”
In the small business market, referrals come more easily because the recommendation is not grounded in a personal product; it’s strictly business. Such recommendations are made willingly and fall under the heading of networking. Clients will refer you to other prospects, and professionals will refer you to their clients.
How to Get Started
You don’t need to become an expert on everything before you get started. In my practice, I position myself as a “business solutions specialist.” Rather than being product specific, I am “client specific.” I either have the knowledge in the relevant areas or “borrow” the knowledge from other trusted professionals.
For example, my knowledge of retirement plans is general. Fortunately, representatives from all the major retirement plan outlets call on me to sell their products and services. I can, in turn, tap into their expertise and know I’m bringing the right people to the table. You can do the same to overcome areas about which you are not completely knowledgeable.
Selling Demand Products
If you are a life insurance agent, you still can lead with demand products. I happen to be affiliated with a group of specialists that offer employee benefits services, including health care, so I have an in. But even if you do not offer health insurance, find a local firm through your NAIFA, AHIA or NAHU chapter with whom you could strike up an arrangement.
Perhaps you could receive a finder’s fee (20% is reasonable) to bring in a group case and maintain access to the individual life and disability insurance sales. Alternatively, there may be health brokerages that are not pursuing life and disability insurance opportunities. You might be able to build a reciprocal relationship with them.
When you are starting a business practice, choose one area and become an expert in it. I started in disability insurance and then moved to employee benefits. But you can start anywhere; no business owner expects you to be an expert in everything.